The year was 2019, and actress Amala Paul stunned her fans by announcing a sabbatical from movies when she was at the peak of her career. She had just seen the release of her solo lead film ‘Aadai’ and just a year earlier, had delivered hits like ‘Ratsasan’, and ‘Thiruttu Payale 2’.
In a recent interview, the actor said she felt “exhausted” and had no energy left to work in films. Explaining her decision, she said, “I didn’t want to quit film because my films were not doing fine or that I was not getting any offers. I got the biggest offers of my career at that point in time but I had to say no, because I simply needed a break. I was tired, exhausted, and burned out. I started in the industry when I was 17 and now I’m 30. So, you know, it’s almost 13 years of non-stop work. And then I went through my personal loss, losing my father, then the pandemic happened and suddenly I was at home and I didn’t have anything to do.”
She added, “There were no flights to catch, meetings to attend or characters to work on. And that gave me a lot of time to connect with myself, process my emotions, my journey and my life. And I sort of realised that I was not very happy with the person that I was becoming. I felt like I was carrying too much baggage and that break phase was very cleansing for me. I call it my washing machine phase. I was literally going through so much detox and healing. I didn't have the energy to do movies.”
While Amala was confident she needed the break, her family was worried that she might be ‘forgotten’ due to time away from the limelight. “When I discussed that with my family, they were like, normally nobody takes a break. If you're taking a break, then you could be forgotten. But that was not a concern for me because I was prioritising my need to rest,” she said.
Amala returned in 2021 with two anthology films, ‘Kutty Story’ in Tamil and ‘Pitta Kathalu’ in Telugu. She also made her OTT debut in 2021 with the Aha series ‘Kudi Yedamaithe’ and her Hindi debut in the Voot series ‘Ranjish Hi Sahi'. Amala was last seen in the Tamil thriller ‘Cadaver’, which was released on Disney+ Hotstar last month and opened to mixed reviews. She currently has three Malayalam films, ‘Teacher’, ‘Christopher’, and ‘Aadujeevitham’, in the pipeline.